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All India Radio (AIR), officially known since 1956 as Akashvani("Voice from the Sky") is the national publicradio broadcaster of India and a division of Prasar Bharati. Established in 1930,it is the sister service of Prasar Bharati's Doordarshan, an Indian national public television broadcaster. Its headquarters are in the Akashvani Bhavan building in New Delhi. Akashvani Bhavan houses the Drama Section, the FM Section, and the National Service, and is also home to the Indian television station Doordarshan Kendra.
Broadcasting began in June 1923 during the British Rajwith programmes by the Bombay Presidency Radio Club and other radio clubs. According to an agreement of 23 July 1927, the private Indian Broadcasting Company LTD (IBC) was authorised to operate two radio stations: the Bombay station began on 23 July 1927, and the Calcutta station followed on 26 August 1927. The company went into liquidation on 1 March 1930. The government took over the broadcasting facilities and began the Indian State Broadcasting Service (ISBS) on 1 April 1930 on an experimental basis for two years and permanently in May 1932. On 8 June 1936, the ISBS was renamed All India Radio.
On 1 October 1939, the External Service began with a broadcast in Pushtu; it was intended to counter radio propaganda from Germany directed to Afghanistan, Iran and the Arab nations. 1939 also saw the opening of the Dhaka station of eastern India, in what is now Bangladesh. This station catered and nurtured the pioneers of Bengali intellectuals. The foremost among them, Natyaguru Nurul Momen, became the trailblazer of talk-show in 1939. He wrote and directed the first modern radio-play of this station in 1942. When India became independent in 1947, the AIR network had only six stations (in Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Lucknow, and Tiruchirappalli); three radio stations at Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi fell in the share of Pakistan. The total number of radio sets at that time was about 275,000 in India.